U.S. health secretary calls for probe of Obamacare website launch

WASHINGTON Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:56am EST

1 of 2. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius waits before testifying at the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee on 'Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Implementation Failures: What's Next?' on Capitol Hill in Washington December 11, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday asked the department's inspector general to investigate the performance of private contractors in the flawed launch of the Obamacare website.

The healthcare enrollment website, a key part of President Barack Obama's sweeping healthcare law, crashed on its October 1 launch and was subjected to weeks of emergency fixes.

"I am asking the Inspector General to review the acquisition process, overall program management, and contractor performance and payment issues related to the development and management of the HealthCare.gov website," Sebelius said in a blog post.

The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, requires most Americans to have at least enrolled in health coverage by the end of next March or pay a penalty.

The number of people seeking health insurance under the law more than doubled in November to around 250,000, according to a government report released on Wednesday, showing Obamacare is still far from its goal of extending coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.

The website's disastrous debut created a political crisis for Obama and fellow Democrats.

Sebelius, who is scheduled to testify before a congressional panel later Wednesday, also said she had asked Marilyn Tavenner, the chief of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to create a new chief risk officer position at CMS.

The new official's first assignment would be to review information technology contracting and identify the "risk factors that impeded the successful launch of the HealthCare.gov website," Sebelius said.

Late last month, the Obama administration announced that QSSI, a unit of health insurer UnitedHealth Group, would serve as a general contractor to oversee repairs to HealthCare.gov.

(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by W Simon and Meredith Mazzilli)

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Comments (25)
unionwv wrote:
Like the internal “investigations” of the IRS and Benghazi, this will give Obama cover. His peons will again say to critics: “We have to wait for the results of the “investigation”, before we can say …

Dec 11, 2013 11:13am EST  --  Report as abuse
SanPa wrote:
The website isn’t her only problem. It was her command that changed the “Like it. Keep it.” grandfather provision that has added to the tumultuous launch.

Dec 11, 2013 11:17am EST  --  Report as abuse
Bighammerman wrote:
After working in the private sector in a regulated industry for years, I have learned that when launching anything DETAILS must be managed carefully. If details are not managed they will destroy the launch and you as well. Details were obviously not managed and Obama, Sebelius and the Democrats don’t really care about the failure or how it affects the American citizen. These folks only care about how things affect them. The bottom line here is that Obama’s failures, scandals, cover-ups, lies and the like have come to a point of exposure. Obama needs to resign immediately or Congress should impeach him ultimately removing him from office.

Obama used the death of Mandela as an excuse to run from the problems he created domestically when he should have sent others and stayed in the U.S to address the details. Obama does not care about the American Citizen and provides more attention for the illegal alien than he does the citizen. He must leave the office immediately.

Dec 11, 2013 11:24am EST  --  Report as abuse
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